Baptisia australis closeup

Baptisia australis Family: Papilionaceae
(bap-TEE-zsah oss-TRAL-iss)
syn. Baptisia caerulea

Common name: blue false indigo; blue wild indigo; plains false indigo
Zone: 4 – 9
Height: 3-4 ft (90-120 cm) Spread: 3 ft (90 cm)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: average; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: An herbaceous perennial with an upright, arching habit. Attractive blue-green, palmate leaves with inversely lance-shaped leaflets. Deep indigo blue pea-like flowers in racemes on erect spikes appear in June and July. Dark, pea-like seed pods follow in late summer.


Special Notes: Native to North America. Plant takes two to three years to establish well and flower. Site well in the garden as this plant is not partial to being moved. May require staking in a windy location. Drought tolerant. Attracts bees and butterflies. Good cut flower. Attractive seed pods are excellent in dried arrangements. May suffer occasional fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew and rust. Propagate by seed; division in spring or autumn.


RHS Award of Garden Merit 1993; Great Plant Pick 2011


In our Zone 7a garden: Patience is a virtue with this plant as it does take the two to three years to establish itself before flowering. But oh, is it ever so worth the wait! As for its purported dislike for being moved once planted…we have not experienced any horrific upset in the Baptisia australis plants we have moved around in our landscape design for one reason or another. Perhaps because we always amend the planting hole with compost or aged manure and add in a very generous helping of our homemade complete fertiliser before planting or transplanting any of our plants.



Posted on September 22, 2012; updated on February 3, 2013